The French 75 cocktail recipe has a colorful, multicultural origin story — it was dreamed up in New York City by a Scottish bartender who named it after a French field gun! Not to mention the fact that it was first stirred up at the height of Prohibition of course…
The story goes that barkeep Harry MacElhone chose the name because the drink had a fair amount of kick, which he likened to the firepower of the French 75mm field gun that was used during World War I. Today, the French 75 martini is still enjoyed around the globe, with the same reputation for packing a strong punch.
How strong is the French 75 cocktail?
Each French 75 contains two ounces of gin and two ounces of either Champagne or Prosecco. This places its alcohol content at around 19% ABV (38 proof). As such, it’s a rather strong drink that is best enjoyed in sipping mode. By comparison, a Long Island Iced Tea normally has a 17.2% ABV, while Pina Colada comes in at 9.8% and a Pornstar Martini at 13.6%.
French 75 cocktail variations to try
Like the best gin cocktails tend to do, classic French 75 has inspired its fair share of cocktail spin-offs over the years. Here is a little list of our favorite variations:
- Old Cuban. This NYC-inspired drink combines aged rum, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, mint, and Champagne.
- South Mint 75. With notes of Southeast Asia coming to the fore, the South Mint 75 features gin, lime juice, lemongrass syrup, mint, and cava.
- French Harvest. This drink sticks pretty closely to the French 75 formula, only swapping out Champagne in favor of sparkling cider.
- West 75th. This New York Sour-inspired take on the French 75 yields a vibrant combination of French apple brandy, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and orange bitters, charged with sparking red wine.
- Maxwell. This decidedly refreshing drink combines cucumber vodka, cucumber juice, orange-flavored Grand Marnier liqueur, lemon juice, and agave nectar, topped off with Champagne.
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How to make a batch of French 75 cocktail for a party
Hosting a large crowd and keen to serve up some Parisian glamor? We highly recommend a French 75 punch bowl for everything from wedding cocktails to casual get-togethers. This approach allows you to treat your guests to the gorgeous flavors of this popular cocktail without having to shake each one up individually.
To serve eight to ten people, the ingredients list will be as follows:
- 16 oz (2 cups) gin
- 32 oz (4 cups) Champagne or prosecco
- 8 oz (1 cup) lemon juice
- 6 oz simple syrup
The trick lies in adding the Champagne just before your guests arrive. Combine the rest of the ingredients in your punch bowl ahead of time. Then add the final touches at the last possible moment to ensure that the bubbles are lively and sparkly!
You can also prep your glasses with a sugar rim and a cherry garnish beforehand. This way you will be able to serve your guests from the punch bowl without missing a beat.
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The best French 75 cocktail recipe
French cocktails are classics for a reason – it’s glamor in a glass. To start you off, here is a short and sweet explanation of what’s in a French 75 and how to make it at home.